Lenny Dykstra thinks he was the NL MVP in 1993, not Barry Bonds

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Former Phillies and Mets outfielder Lenny Dykstra joined Mike Missanelli on ESPN’s 97.5 The Fanatic on Friday evening. The interview was fascinating, as Dykstra has never been one to hold back. He criticized current Phillies center fielder Ben Revere for his low on-base percentage, talked about his steroid use, the financial mistakes he made in his post-baseball career, and suggested that the Phillies should trade for his son Cutter Dykstra, currently in the Nationals’ minor league system.

This is perhaps the most interesting thing he said in the interview, however — at least to me:

1993 was, of course, the year the Phillies shocked the nation and matched up in the World Series against the Blue Jays. Dykstra finished second in NL MVP voting to Barry Bonds. That season, Dykstra slashed .305/.420/.482 with 19 home runs, 66 RBI, and 37 stolen bases. He led the league in walks with 129, in hits with 194, and in runs with 143. Baseball Reference credits him with an impressive 6.5 Wins Above Replacement.

As good as Dykstra was that season, however, Bonds was way better. The Giants outfielder slashed .336/.458/.677  with a league-leading 46 home runs, 123 RBI, and stole 29 bases as well. Bonds led the league in both on-base percentage and slugging percentage, and finished with 9.9 WAR. Bonds was the most valuable position player in the National League in 1993. The Giants won 103 games but finished second in the NL West to the Braves, who won 104.

Even aside from Bonds, though, there was a debate between Dykstra and the rest of the field. Baseball Reference also listed Mike Piazza at 7.0 WAR, Ron Gant with 6.5, Robbie Thompson with 6.3, and Jay Bell with 6.2. All worth at least a conversation in the MVP talks, though they all paled in comparison to Bonds.

Sorry, Lenny, you weren’t the National League’s most valuable player in 1993.

Sandy Koufax to be honored with statue at Dodger Stadium

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Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.

Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.

Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.

Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign  on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.